MLB commissioner Rob Manfred didn't make many changes to pace-of-play for the big leagues, but more changes to Minor League Baseball will be taking place in 2018.
The biggest change is the new extra innings rule, which institutes that starting in the 10th inning, there will be a runner at second base to begin the inning.
All extra innings in Minor League games will begin with a runner at second base starting this season, MiLB announced today as part of a series of pace of play initiatives.— Adam McCalvy (@AdamMcCalvy) March 14, 2018
To be specific, the runner who will be granted second base will be the player in the batting order previous to the leadoff hitter in the inning. When it comes to pitchers and the effect it will have on their ERA, the runner at second will be deemed a runner who reached base via an error, but an error will not be charged to any player or team.
The two other big changes for pace-of-play are limiting mound visits, which is different based on minor league level, and reducing the pitch clock to 15 seconds with no runners on base at Double-A and Triple-A.
Also new pitch clock rules will reduce pitch clock from 20 seconds to 15 seconds at Double-A and Triple-A with no one on base.— JJ Cooper (@jjcoop36) March 14, 2018
Just like the pitch clock was first instituted in the minor leagues to test it out, you can bet Manfred is looking to see the outcome of this rule change to see if it's something that could eventually be used in the big leagues.
The pitch clock isn't here yet, but you can bet it will be sooner or later. Who knows if this will work out, but you have to give credit to the league for thinking outside of the box.